Increase your productivity by 2,754%.
If you're not measuring, how will you even know how awesome these boosting tips really were?
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Robot Overlord Joke of the Day
Q: Why did the product manager get lost on the way to work?
A: They were following a roadmap…to nowhere!
P.S. How cute is that little guy in the horror movie hallway?
Let’s jump right into the productivity-boosting ideas for you today.
Productivity Booster #1:
Keep track of what you have going on.
In one of the best product-related books, “Measure What Matters,” John Doerr hits many times on the importance of using measurement in your career and personal life.
The purpose of measurement is not just to tell you how you are doing, but to help you improve.
Many of us have mundane things we have to do daily, and I am not recommending measuring every time you let your dog out or change your kid’s diaper.
I am, however, suggesting that when you look across the places in your life at work or in your personal life where you are intentionally trying to get better, consider whether there are ways you might be able to reverse engineer your end goal to find key measurement milestones you could hit on your way there.
Once you have identified your goals, I always love to write them down in some form that I can reference again throughout the year. I find that it’s also a great reminder to document the milestones I could be hitting alongside my goals, and each time I look at them, I note what I have achieved on the way to the goals. At the end of the year, you can look back at all the great things you have completed and have an incredible feeling of accomplishment.
Bonus tip: This is a great way to remember everything you achieved at work just in time for your annual performance review.
Productivity Booster #2:
Dedicate some heads-down focus time.
Unless you were already fully remote, one of the most incredible things to come from the pandemic for many of us is that we could start working from home full (or at least partial) time. As someone who has been working out of their kitchen with their fancy kitchen gadgets in the backdrop, I have loved being able to pick up my kid from school at a reasonable hour and avoid driving for 1-2 hours round trip per day. However, there have been some drawbacks. The biggest one? Focus.
Honestly, the lack of focus at home is not much different from having many random team members at your desk asking you a million questions. Having everything important to you - the phone, binging on The Crown - at your fingertips can be a “flow” killer. If you’re unfamiliar with flow, here’s an excellent article to catch yourself up.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, if I focus on work, it’ll be better duh.” Hear me out, though. Sometimes I think the framing of where we might see benefits help connect and reestablish a WIIFM (or what’s in it for me), so here are a few net benefits of focus:
Greater ability to meet deadlines - Are you stressing out about deadlines? Have a million different things going on that all seem lingering and never meet a conclusion so you can move on to what you want to do. Try unlocking your true task-closing potential by giving yourself some focused time. Can you set up something recurring daily/every couple of days to grind out and get some wins rolling? Go for it! You will be amazed at how stringing together these completed tasks make you feel.
Better satisfaction at work - What comes along with getting your job done on time and feeling good about it? When you start feeling more productive, there’s a great chance you’ll be a better person to be around in the workplace. Being more likable at work will boost your team’s desire to work with you, thus making your whole team more productive…and the snowball of satisfaction that stems from these factors will continue to roll and make work more enjoyable.
Better ability to retain information - Some people are like sponges with everything they come across, and I admire those traits. I, however, have limited capacity in my brain to retain some of the things I should be retaining daily. Part of that comes from my not prioritizing its importance or significance. If I do this enough, it can quickly turn into not retaining critical data my team members or customers are telling me, having to ask them again, and losing the trust I’ve built with them. Carving out some time to focus can help mitigate this trust loss by pushing yourself to pay attention a bit better, finding the essential parts that you’ll need to reference later, and calling them back when the time is right.
Productivity Booster #3:
Revisit your annoying and repetitive tasks and ditch them.
I found this article, “Let’s talk about 4R to Happiness: Remove, Replace, Refine, Realise,” to have an interesting way of framing up the goal of ditching those repetitive and distracting tasks in your life on your way to happiness.
The article emphasizes the importance of removing the redundant things that do not contribute value or, even worse, hurt your life. I like to take this idea to the micro level.
Think about an annoying thing that keeps popping up at work. Have that email alert that keeps letting you know something is busted but you’re ignoring it because you know the world isn’t going to end? Do you know that it will take 5 minutes to fix this situation, but instead of investing the 5 minutes, you keep getting reminded how much you hate it every time you see that email alert? The cycle continues.
I’m suggesting when you identify these types of scenarios in your life think about how each time they go off you get bothered and it chips away at your happiness. Consider spending 5 minutes and fixing the issue once and for all. A happier you will be a more motivated you.
Have something you can pass along to someone in your department that you are tired of doing while at the same time could be a tremendous growth opportunity for them? Invest the time into figuring out what is needed to pass it on…and do it! You will be happier once this is off your shoulders, and you will give yourself more time to focus on the things that are important to you.
Podcast of the Day
One of the parts of this great Ted Radio Hour - about 26 minutes in - is when the talk moves toward how staying engaged and focused can impact happiness and one’s ability to have fun.
The talk hits on all of the benefits of having fun, including how socially connected and relaxed and how much happier we can be when we are in the “flow” state of having fun. I sometimes forget how great it feels and how much all the distractions can take away from this part of our lives.
The TLDR: Prioritize focusing on the fun parts of life because it will help you feel mentally and physically better.
Have any productivity hacks you want to share? Click the button to leave a comment. Let’s go!
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